#clearlynowtherain #launched! @ #EBB

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All due respect to the various kick-ass indie lit stores in Seattle, we all know where the mother ship is—well, you know if you haven’t been living elsewhere and missed the headline that the mother ship is no longer docked in drafty, desolate Pioneer Square and is now a crown jewel in the hipster crown of Capitol Hill.  Yes, I’m talking about Elliott Bay Book Company, the mecca of memoir, the coffee table of coffee table books, the real story of the novel, the palace of poetry, etc.  My good friend Amanda Carr’s parents founded the store some indecent number of years ago (I say indecent only because I just creaked out of my 35th year yesterday and am feeling it), and I don’t know if they knew what they were creating, culturally speaking.  I read at the original EBB in 2006, from my first book, Falling Room, and was daunted and humbled by the proverbial size of the stage I took. 

 

 One might think that seven years later, I’d be less daunted and humbled by taking the stage again, but that wasn’t the case.  The great Benjamin Percy was the last person I saw sit a folding chair in the soft glare of those track lights.  So when I got there Saturday and schlepped my pounds of beer and ice and sausage and cheese and wine through the underground catacombs and into the cavernous and cinematic reading room, I just sat up there, quiet and alone for a few minutes, looking out and trying to channel the poise of Percy—but I was already feeling the churn of emotion that I knew this evening would bring me. I felt incredibly grateful when Emily Holt, my colleague and friend from Pongo Teen Writing arrived and we started sitting that space together. 

 

It is one thing to pack the house for any literary gig (especially on a sunny Solstice eve), but it’s quite another to pack it with people from nearly every realm of my life: childhood homies, my late father’s employee-friends, my grandmother-in-law, my clinical internship instructor, my co-interns, activists and allies from social social justice work, family of blood and choice, kick ass writers of all genres, babies and toddlers and even if a few curious strangers!  And it’s another thing altogether to have all those people uncross their arms and lean in and show not only interest, but deep love and solidarity. 

 

I don’t want to make it sound like this reading was a therapy session, of course.  It was much better than that.  It was the launch of a love story that I’ve carried around carefully for many years.  And it had to happen at Elliott Bay Book Company. 

 

Thanks.

 

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Comments

  1. Congrats Eli, sounds like a great evening. Can’t wait for your visit to Portland.

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